Acclaimed country hit maker Chris Stapleton will be a part of Disney and Pixar’s upcoming Toy Story 4 series wrap up, helping Woody, Buzz and their animated pals ride off into the sunset for the last time. But unlike his recent appearance on the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, this time he’ll be doing what he does best.
Rather than acting, Stapleton lends his voice to the film’s end-credit song — a swaying two-stepper with an old-school Western feel titled “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy.”
Like the rest of the franchise’s music, the song was written and composed by Academy Award-winner Randy Newman, who says he imagined the track’s heartwarming message from the point of view of toy sheriff Woody, voiced by Tom Hanks.
“Woody feels like he was a lonesome cowboy until someone comes along and changes his world,” Newman explains in a press release about the track. “Chris Stapleton did a great job on this song.”
Although the track itself is short — clocking in at less than two-minutes long — Stapleton’s rich, gravelly vocal gives the tune a big dose of friendly cowboy authenticity. For his part, the “Tennessee Whiskey” star (who is also a father of five) says he was thrilled to be a part of such a beloved series.
“To me what has made the Toy Story films hold up over time has been the strength of the stories and the songs and the writing and the characters,” Stapleton says. “There’s something for people of all ages to enjoy in the world that is Toy Story. It’s a tremendous honor to get to sing a Randy Newman song in what is without question one of the most iconic animated franchises in history.”
Toy Story 4 is set to hit theaters June 21st, and while the soundtrack arrives the same day it is available for pre order now. Stapleton is spending the summer headlining his All American Road Show Tour with Margo Price, Brent Cobb and Brothers Osborne on select dates.